I remember when I first heard about “taking the lane”. It made me cringe. My thought was “You have got to be kidding. That is insane!” There was no way I would consider doing it. But I kept hearing other cyclists talking about it and suggesting it. Finally I took the plunge and tried it. WOW! What a difference it made. Now I do it all the time. I have to admit that I would not do it everywhere if I have a choice as some roads are just too busy and dangerous.
One thing I will say is that it is important to take the lane when you are taking the lane. Some cyclists still ride over to the far right of the lane and by doing so motorists often don’t move over to another lane. They pass by the cyclist all too closely sharing the same lane. I always ride either in the middle (B) or even left of center (A) of the lane which forces motorists to pass me using the other lane. I think the very center is best. Riding in B some motorists will still try to share the lane and pass by all too closely on your right side.
Another factor involving lane position is that riding on the right side of a traffic lane makes it harder for motorists to see you. When I ride on streets taking the lane I am sure to turn on more of my blinking taillights, especially my brightest ones. I also usually have one taillight on which is set on steady on … not flashing. I always have my high visibility safety flags flying and flapping attracting attention.
As I understand it in all 50 U.S. States it is legal for cyclists to take the lane. I am not sure of this but I think that if a bike lane exists for cyclists to use some places require the cyclists to ride in the bike lane rather than taking the lane. Personally I prefer to take the lane as bike lanes are too dangerous and I don’t like riding in them.
Here are some tips from this website:
- Always be predictable – drivers should know what you’re about to do, no sudden, unexpected man oeuvres.
- If in doubt: slow down, move off the road, stop. Mistakes in traffic are more costly than a few lost minutes.
- Just like driving any other vehicle in traffic: be careful, calm, but confident.
- Try to anticipate other people’s mistakes, and position yourself so that when (if) they happen, there’s no accident. Always try to read what the others will do.
Lastly, here are some other websites with useful information on them.
My final words on this … according to what others report motorists behavior and attitudes are not the same everywhere. Where I live and ride I have no issues with motorists. They are respectful and patient. Rarely does anyone honk or yell in anger. Some trikers who live and ride elsewhere report serious issues with motorists. They have bad attitudes and can get quite aggressive and ugly. If that were what I would be up against I would probably have to make some changes and do things differently. The important thing is for all of us to be safe out there.
KEEP ON TRIKIN’